vinuneuro Show full post »
I'm using both Stan's Grail (alloy) and Stan's Valor (carbon). The Valor seems more compliant and comfortable. I've used the same tires on both rims. WTB cross boss in 35mm width and Compass Snoqualmie Pass in 44mm width. Stan's made the cross section of the Valor rims especially for supple gravel use. So like someone else said, the design of the rim and the tires you will use will give you whatever kind of ride response you want.
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Interesting comments, (the ones on topic, anyway), and it is good to read some different viewpoints.

I think a couple of points should be considered. First- Carbon fiber can be all over the range between stiff and compliant depending on what the manufacturer desires and what is possible for them in terms of equipment, R&D, and engineering. As with alloy rims/wheels, this results in varying ride feel.

Secondly, carbon fiber's oft quoted "buzz killing" characteristics are not uniformly true or consistent. Carbon fiber does transmit vibrations, just not the same ones as other materials. This in conjunction with the previous thoughts on how carbon can be designed to be stiffer or not so stiff can yield results that vary widely. Mechanics in shops know this because we often goof off using carbon forks as "tuning forks" and some are actually quite musical. Obviously, they are transmitting vibration pretty well. Some are dead, which are the ones that do not transfer vibrations very well.

Finally, tire construction, size, air pressures used, and whether or not they are tubeless can trump all of the above.

In my estimation, carbon rims can offer incredible lateral stability, light weight, and better wind cheating characteristics. Those would be the main reasons I would want a carbon fiber wheel set.
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clarksonxc wrote:
ridemagnetic - the tire lever/rim cracking thing got me nervous.  Are there any specific brands to watch out for?  Both of my carbon wheelsets were purchased well after 2012; but I still get nervous when removing a tire.  I always figure the plastic tire lever will break before I exceed the strength of the carbon rim bead.

Disclaimer; Before I get backlash for saying something bad about somebody's precious brand of wheels, please keep in mind I've literally seen it all. I've been building wheels since well before there ever was a carbon rim on the market, and we used to ride gravel with tubulars because clinchers used to suck up until about the mid 90's. Just because I say brand X or Y has issues doesn't mean they don't have thousands of satisfied customers. I see a lot of wheels from every brand out there and every single one of them has problems, just to what degree and what frequency should be up for discussion (not personal attacks and name calling).  

Stay away from Zipp. They have the softest layup of any of the major brands out there. Just a couple weeks ago I was demonstrating their poor construction to a colleague and almost put my thumb through the sidewall of a brand new 303 FC that was warrantied for a cracked bead hook. While soft my translate to a plush ride, it doesn't bode well for durability. Stick with your ENVE's. I've had XC's and M50's in the past, couple of the best wheel sets I've ever owned. Lighter and more durable than most.

Volsung wrote:
Cost isn't even that much of an issue anymore.  Good (Hed, WTB, Velocity) aluminum rims cost 100 bucks, give or take.  My carbon Nextie Premiums were $200 and are lighter and have a longer warranty.  Count in the corrosion I got on every aluminum rim ever and they may end up being cheaper in the long run.

You're right, cheap carbon has been available to the general consumer for a few years now. But the vast majority of people out there searching for a carbon set are looking at the typical big factory brands which are usually running in the $2-3k range. Cost prohibitive to those in the mainstream that end their searches there. These brands like Nextie and Light-Bicycle are still very esoteric and are really only well known to a small percentage of fanatics. Ironically enough the cheap carbon still raises the skeptical eyebrow due to the terrible rep that open molds gave us in the first decade of the 2000's. That's changing, though ever so slowly. 10 times out of 10 I would recommend LB over Zipp. Now that the durability has pretty much been sorted out we're almost at a convergence in price. 20 years ago I was doing some contract work for Hed, and if they would have hinted at charging $150 for an aluminum rim back then it would've been quite the knee slapper. Now that brands feel the need to charge bonkers prices for aluminum rims that haven't really changed much from a construction standpoint durning that time, it's sure has been pretty easy to make the case for carbon.
A great set of wheels will make an average frame ride better. It doesn't work the other way around.  ~ridemagnetic
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